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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 17923
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My dog is just over 6 weeks - she is quite large and I am more

Customer Question

My dog is just over 6 weeks - she is quite large and I am more aware of her breathing - is this normal at this stage of the pregnancy - some of the information has me quite alarmed regarding how dangerous it is for a Maltese to be pregnant
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'd like to help with your concerns about Thumby and her increased respiratory noise as she is progressing through her pregnancy.
If she is getting very large then there will be a fair amount of pressure on her diaphragm and thus her ability to fully inflate her lungs and comfortably breathe will be impaired. This is a normal change with pregnancy. Because you are already seeing this change it is important for her not to overexert herself, and to keep her cool especially on very warm days. Slow short walks in the cool evening are fine but during the heat of the day she needs to rest and she needs to be kept cool.
You do want to make sure too that she is getting multiple small meals of an excellent quality puppy food at this stage as well. If she is that large there will also be pressure on her gastrointestinal tract and she will be unable to eat sufficient quantities of food at two or even three meals.
If her nutrition isn't excellent it can be possible for her to develop hypocalcemia now and continuing in the weeks after birth as she draws upon body stores to give her puppies as they grow and produce milk after they are born. Signs of hypocalcemia include panting, labored breathing, refusal to eat, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle twitches and seizures so if she is showing additional signs along with her increased respiratory noise then she should have her blood calcium levels checked.
It is true that the smaller the breed of dog the more likely they are to experience dystocia, or difficulty giving birth. But we can help increase their success rate by feeding them well, being aware of not letting them get overstressed or overheated, being careful about not breeding a very small bitch to a much bigger stud.
Best of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions.